Sonic the Animation (also known as "Man of the Year") is an animated short based off of Sonic the Hedgehog. It was created in 1994 by TMS Entertainment (then known as Tokyo Movie Shinsha) in conjunction with Sega AM3. The short was later included on Sonic Jam.
The plot starts in a nameless city. Doctor Eggman has recently woken up and is still in his pajamas when he sees a newspaper stating that his worst enemy, Sonic the Hedgehog, has been dubbed "Man of the Year". Eggman hatches a plan to dress up as Sonic and vandalize the city. Suddenly, Sonic's gone from "Man of the Year" to "Worst of the Year". The short ends with a crowd of angry people yelling at a confused Sonic while Eggman (still in his Sonic getup) gloats in the background.
Sonic the Animation predates Sonic Adventure by 4 years, however even in 1994 it was clear that certain ideas were in place. The short features a urban city full of humans that strikingly resembles Station Square.
Watch it here.
Sonic the Animation provides examples of:
- Animesque: Inverted. It's Japanese animated but is styled after old American cartoons like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
- Conspicuous CGI: The city, vehicles, Eggman's base, and his room are rendered in obvious CGI.
- Face Doodling: What Eggman does to 3 awake people and one of them's Sonic plush.
- Furry Denial: Sonic's a hedgehog whose the "Man of the Year". Think about it.
- Left Hanging: The cartoon ended with a "To Be Continued", and it has never received a follow up.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The cartoon is set in this kind of world, taking place in a human-inhabited city with Sonic being the only anthro shown.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: There's no dialogue. It's In the Style of... old cartoons and was done by the team who worked on shows like Animaniacs.
- Medium Blending: The backgrounds are rendered CGI while the characters and objects the characters interact are cartoon.
- Mythology Gag: Music from Sonic the Hedgehog CD is used (see below), and Eggman's home base resembles his huge statue from the Stardust Speedway's Bad Future. It also has a resemblance to Robotnik's fortress from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which similarly had a giant gold statue of the infamous doctor. TMS Entertainment have also animated the Chaos Emeralds saga of said series.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Dr. Eggman uses a poorly made Sonic costume to wreak havoc on the city. Which of course, the citizens were easily fooled.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: It uses "Morning Mood" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The Japanese music track of Metallic Madness from "Sonic CD" was used when Eggman causes havoc.
- Sequel Hook: Dr. Eggman wreaks havoc in a city while wearing a very unconvincing Sonic disguise. How will Sonic clear his name and defeat Eggman? Nobody knows, because the story wasn't ever finished.
- Spit Take: Eggman spits out his coffee after seeing the newspaper cover dubbing Sonic "Man of the Year".
- Token Nonhuman: Sonic is the only Funny Animal in the short. Everyone else is a human.
- To Be Continued: It ends on this note, but there was never another short. Fan speculation is that it was just a test animation that was never meant to be continued in the first place.